BLACKPINK’s debut has proved to be an immediate chart and online success

If you haven’t heard of them already, you will soon.

BLACKPINK, YG Entertainment’s new girl group, debuted on the 8th of August with the release of a single album entitled ‘SQUARE ONE’, accompanied by music videos for the two tracks, ‘BOOMBAYAH’ and ‘WHISTLE’. As well as being the number one and two most streamed songs on leading South Korean music sites, they topped iTunes charts in multiple other countries including Indonesia, Hong Kong, Finland and Turkey in the days following their release. The two music videos garnered almost 20 million views combined on YouTube after only a couple of days, though they now stand at a cool 38 million views between them – no big deal.

Anticipation for the group was raised before their debut through the release of teaser images and a dance practice video, with the dance video alone pulling in over 7 million views and 170,000 likes. Netizens were quick to praise the girls’ looks and talents, with users writing tens of thousands of comments voicing their support. One user wrote, “I watched this 100x already and I always end up getting slayed,” and another commenting, “Wow! So impressive, I’m a bit speechless. This was so pro, I’m excited for more BLACKPINK!”

The four-piece band, comprised of Kim Jisoo, Kim Jennie, Park Chaeyoung (Rosé) and Panpriya Manoban (Lisa), has already shot to international star status. Their music videos show strong rapping, singing and dancing skills from all the members, as well as incredible cinematographic editing and wardrobes to die for. Many fans have pointed out that all these elements show how much extensive training the members have done and that they work together to create a strong concept in order to stand out from the crowd.

So why are BLACKPINK such an immediate success worldwide? Whilst YG Entertainment’s expertise and experience of managing music artists adds to the early exposure BLACKPINK has received, this is only half the story.

It is due, in part, to the fact the songs were produced and co-written by Teddy, another YGE-signed talent. Teddy, whose Korean name is Park Hongjun, notes hip-hop and rap as being large influences on his music, due to him being a member of hip-hop group 1TYM, and being a producer for YGE for a long time. These influences can clearly be heard in the edgy musical style that has been created. The new tracks balance hip-hop beats and rapping with sweeter vocals and catchy melodies, which creates a mature and refined sound. Through this, BLACKPINK have already shown strong artistic direction and a musical style that aligns with the general ‘sound’ of YG Entertainment but still is distinctive to the group.

Aside from their artistic talents, a lot of the appeal of the band comes from the personality of the members and the close relationship they have formed with each other through their years of training.

These attributes shine through in the other videos which are published on BLACKPINK’s official YouTube channel. The four members can be seen excitedly talking about their new songs and joking around with each other whilst filming their music videos, showing a softer and more youthful side to their characters.

What I personally like most about BLACKPINK is that the girls have a strong and unapologetic stage presence. Their sound and style is unique, and they’re proud of it. They proclaim in ‘BOOMBAYAH’, “I’m immature and I’m fearless man, middle finger up, F U – pay me.”

Lyrically and artistically, they’re seeking to empower females and their fans in an incredibly upfront and obvious way, which I feel many other groups may avoid whilst being in the early stages of promotion.

BLACKPINK fill this gap in the market unashamedly, which I believe provides an incredibly positive role model. Women can be what they want and act how they please, and BLACKPINK illustrate to girls and women alike that there’s nothing wrong with speaking out about it.

In spite of claims the group are similar to fellow YGE-managed act 2NE1 (which they have not shied away from commenting on), I maintain that BLACKPINK are a class of their own. To capture such a large audience in such a short timeframe is a testament to the group’s power and wide appeal. There is a fine line between using other people’s work as inspiration and plagiarism, and BLACKPINK doesn’t even come close to crossing this boundary. They are not a ‘new 2NE1’ – they are BLACKPINK. To call them anything else would be to disregard their talent and hard work.

The immediate worldwide attention they are receiving sets a marker as to how much kpop as grown and the enormous extent to which it is followed worldwide. Whilst it is unclear if new upcoming artists will be able to follow in BLACKPINK’s impressive footsteps, it is inevitable that BLACKPINK themselves will continue to grow exponentially.